The announcement was made earlier today in a press release by Steve Simon, the Chairman and CEO of the WTA.
The move came in support of Chinese player Peng Shuai, who suddenly disappeared after coming forward with allegations of sexual abuse against China's former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli on the Chinese social media site Weibo.
The WTA had earlier received assurance on the former doubles World No 1's safety and well being. However, the WTA wants her allegations to be addressed more seriously before they recommit to playing in China.
Simon was quoted as saying:
"However, unless China takes the steps we have asked for, we cannot put our players and staff at risk by holding events in China. China’s leaders have left the WTA with no choice."
Both former and current players took to Twitter to applaud the bold decision. They lauded the WTA for standing up in support of the player's individual rights, even though the move is likely to cost them money.
Many of them, including Kvitova, had earlier tweeted about Peng Shuai's disappearance, using the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai. Current World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and former World No. 1s Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal had also expressed their concerns.
Djokovic said he supported the WTA's decision during his recent press conference at the Davis Cup.
The US Tennis Association also backed the WTA's decision and professed solidarity.
What does the move mean for the WTA calendar?
The 2021 WTA Finals were to be held in Shenzhen, but the venue was later changed to Guadalajara, Mexico. The recent announcement means that the 2022 WTA Finals will have to find a new venue as well.
The China Open is another important tournament which is going to be canceled. This is a WTA 1000-level tournament and its last edition in 2019 saw Japan's Naomi Osaka lift the trophy, while current world No.1 Ashleigh Barty was the runner-up.